So much to say about my few days in Vegas. I think I will try to recap by days and events even though I am mostly going to comment about the people at Summit, old and new friends. Of course as you can imagine I had a fantastic time at Summit as always. This time I was a little more melow, last year was my first time in Vegas so I did a little more partying. This time I looked at Vegas in a more relaxed way with less hustle and bustle.
I arrived at Vegas in the day and shared a cab with my friend Mike Allen. We were both excited to get to the Rio and meet up with everyone. Summit has become not only something for work but a place to see your friends it is really like a family. Mike liked to call it like a family reunion. It’s true, these are people you get to talk to all year long on a virtual level, then when you finally get to hang out with them it is another level of fun. At the hotel, I got my hair looking magical at the Rio spa for the rest of the trip. Who knew that magical translates to expensive, well it was worth it because I didn’t have to do my hair once while I was rushing around at the conference.
Later, I got to catch a dinner at the Rio with Mike from 1115 Media, Iman and Scott from Train Signal, and Kelly from ChecksUnlimited. That night I attended the Buy.at event at the Moon. I was greeted by a mini-champagne bottle and a straw thanks to a wise friend of mine. I also expect to see the sky through some pics because I always seemed to be at the wrong time when they opened the roof. I called it a night early so I could be ready for the CAMA event in the morning.
As planned I was wide awake and ready for the CAMA event put together by Wade Tonkin. We enjoyed hearing from some Christian Affiliate Marketers in the community. I then had the best breakfast ever composed of strawberries and rice krispy treats. After that the games began, from the House of Blues straight to register, put together the booth, and head to the meet market. We had a table in the ShareASale square with Checks Unlimited. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say hello to Kelly and I at the table. I also had a chance to attend the Ethics in Affiliate Marketing Panel with Haiko de Poel as the moderator and Brian Littleton of ShareASale and Connie Berg of FlamingoWorld were some great speakers on the panel. I took some notes and will have to look through them and summarize before posting. Andy Rodriguez also spoke at Summit. I have learned everything I know from Andy and he has a tremendous amount of experience in our industry. His session is geared towards merchants and is called Developing the Right Merchant Mindset. Some merchants need it more than others but it is definitely a great session. All the sessions will be available on video through Affiliate Summit.
Of course Sunday was the sweet ShareASale Like Totally 80’s party. Thanks to LisaP and Trisha they helped me put together a great outfit. The purple fishnet gloves were a hit and I got to witness some funny costumes. For some people they just wore outfits dug out from their closets, thankfully I wasn’t one of them. LisaP wins best 80s outfit in my book. I thought the night was over until I got stopped by Kim’s cute brother Mike and he told me I had to come bowling. Well I just couldn’t say no to that. So 80’s gear and all I went over to the bowling alley with a great bunch of people that GTO got together. I don’t want to brag so you can ask them yourselves of how my bowling skills were. I won a Betty Boop bowling shirt and I believe there is a video surfacing around there of my bowling techniques.
Monday I made sure to get ready and head straight to hear the keynote Gary V. I am a fan not a friend yet but big fan. Why do I like Gary so much? He is always on point, No BS, and definitely inspiring. Todd won the bingo game, or so we thought…it’s too bad because I would have enjoyed my Cristal. At the end of the keynote, I left feeling inspired. Then I rushed over to take a pic with him. He also has a ridiculous memory because he remembered meeting me in Miami at his book signing. I definitely enjoyed his book 101 wines that I have sitting on my coffee table. I didn’t get a chance to meet his brother AJ because I had to head to the Exhibit Hall but Gary is working on a new project with AJ you should check out called PleaseDressMe.
All day Monday:
I was at the ARC Booth meeting some new people and seeing some familiar faces. I had a moment to head over to the ShareASale Booth where we had featured a couple of our merchants at their giveaway. ChecksUnlimited donated 2 $100 apple gift cards, and Train Signal donated a Rock Band Two with a Wii and an extra control! The ShareASale Booth was full of fun with a photo booth and skeeball, very creative. Andy, Emilio, and I from ARC all crammed into the booth together. Andrew Wee, who was quite the character stuck his finger in my nose on one of the pics, with permission from me first of course. I am waiting on those awesome pics Andrew! Then Shawn Collins showed to be the best skeeball player with a high score of 220. He already had a Rock Band and wanted someone attending Summit to win the prize, now that was very sweet of him! Back to the ARC Booth, I was tweeting some giveaways all day long and got to tell people more about our great merchants. I also told our Booth visitors about ShareASale and why we partner with them. Because they are so ethical that I can always sleep at night knowing we are in good hands!
I also got to drop by Scott Jangro’s session the Future of Performance Marketing which had two parts. I couldn’t stay long but wanted to snap a pic of MechMedia next to Yahoo and Google, well done! Once day one of the Booth was finished we headed straight to the Affiliate Summit Pinnacle Awards. Before the awards began, our merchant Train Signal gave away $10,000 to Affiliate Summit’s Official Charity, The National Breast Cancer Foundation. Of course, this was a proud night for me. Another thing I was excited about was, my two nominees went on to win, you know who you are and I knew you would win! Congrats I was beyond proud and you deserved it. Everyone in the awards including all the nominees deserved to be there.
I went to get ready for the Football Fanatics Poker Tourney. My seat winner for the Tourney was Todd Crawford who shared some of his secret tips. My favourite of his many tips was Smile the same way each hand. So Jason Rubacky of Football Fanatics told us to get there early, so early to me meant walking in 5 minutes late. I’m sorry for that everyone, but you have to admit it was a great entrance. At my table was Haiko, Brent from CSN, Brian, Adam Viener, some Brits, and a fiesty little poker dealer. Brian gave me some shady advice which led me to lose and him to win a stack of chips…hmmm. Then I went to enjoy a delicious dinner at the Palms restaurant Nine, only word to describe it, delicious. Great steak, great wine, great dessert, no iPhone chargers, but I had the right company. I called it an early night and missed out on craps and champagne but needed my rest for Zappos.
I stuffed all my clothes in my bags yes plural but this time I packed in smaller bags so it was an improvement. Checked out over the phone, checked the bags, and was ready for the Zappos bus. Kim Marketing’s mentee put it all together so big props to her. Props to Jen for putting the mentor program together, even though I thought I didn’t have enough time under special training from Todd and Scott I think I can be a mentor next time. Above all I nominate Pat Grady’s mentee for Best Mentee of Affiliate Summit West. Why? He went around introducing himself as Pat Grady’s mentee, hey if I could go under Pat’s wing I would probably do the same. So back to Zappos, it was very interesting to see how they are set up. This company has great employee morale I think it might have to do with the freedom of creativity and growth. One of my favourite parts besides the quiet room which was a nap room, was the book shelf the CEO Tony Hsieh filled with books. He handpicks books that have motivated him and makes them available not only to his employees but also to everyone that visits. I got to pick one and I took the book Blink. What got my attention was that it read on the cover The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. I will let you all know how it is when I read it.
When I got back to the conference I headed to my home, Booth 323. This was the final day and the day of the computer monitor giveaway. We had been meeting people and collecting business cards. We had a drawing at the end of the day and our winner was a friend from ABW, Knight. He was so genuinely excited that it made me happy for him and I’m glad someone like that won. Then to my surprise, Jen Goode, comes by my booth talking about the Triathlon. She wanted to get as many people involved as she could. One thing I can say about Jen is she is a dedicated woman, not afraid to go the extra mile when she cares about something. Thanks to Jen for entering me into the Triathlon the proceeds all went to Charity. I did well on the trike but I let David from ShareASale win because he kind of cried so I ended up getting second place on that. Then had some help on the golf. Other contestants looked like they were really into the competition with some sweet outfits to say the least. Congrats to the winner Charlie Calabrese from Buy.at he also went all out and had the highest score winning a booth for the next Summit in New York.
After the Triathlon, it was almost time to go. I couldn’t believe it was already over. Yes I was tired but no I was not ready to say bye to my friends. I gave everyone I could see big hugs. I made some new friends because that is what this business is about building relationships and that is why I love it so much.
Back to Reality:
I took some great pics that are up on my flickr and I can’t wait to update my blog with some new faces. Thank you all for the memories and I hope to chat with you more through the virtual world we live in and at Affiliate Summit in New York! Big thanks to Missy and Shawn for all their hard work and also Amy Rodriguez for always making sure I am prepared, you always put together an awesome conference.